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There’s nothing quite like curling up with a good book in a cosy spot in front of the fireplace.
But for many of us, winter time often involves coming home to a cold dark house, firing up the heater and burrowing under a fortress of blankets.
Imagine if there was a way to keep your house warm, without electricity, even when you’re not home.
Not only would you save on energy costs, but your home would become a more inviting escape from the bitter cold outside.
And it can be achieved, with the thermal mass properties of concrete floors.
Heating with thermal mass
Concrete floors are often thought of as cold surfaces. But they can actually help with keeping your home warm in winter through the natural process of thermal mass.
Explained simply, concrete is capable of absorbing and storing heat from sunlight, and slowly releasing that warmth when the air temperature drops.
Importantly, this process is reversed during warm weather, when concrete floors can help to absorb heat from inside the home to maintain a comfortable temperature day and night.
Thermal mass can be aided by using ceiling fans on reverse cycle at low speeds during winter, which helps to push rising warm air back to the floor.
And while it may be tempting to use floor rugs and carpets in the winter months, they can impede the natural thermal mass process by covering the floor surface. So give careful consideration to the placement of rugs and other furnishings when planning your layout and interior design.
Polished and honed concrete floors also offer the added benefits of being hard-wearing, low-maintenance, easy to clean and ideal for families and pets. And they’re often a more cost effective flooring option than you realise.
Thermal mass relies on direct contact with natural sunlight, so it’s always best to pair concrete floors with large windows and glass doors that allow sunlight to span over a wide surface area.
The windows should also have adequate coverings such as block-out curtains to help keep warmth in overnight, and reduce radiant heat during the warmer months.
Selecting the right lighting and lamps for your home can also add to the cozy atmosphere you’re trying to create.
Avoid cool white globes and instead opt for for warm white globes which cast an inviting ambient glow over the room.
When it comes to choosing warmer lighting for winter, feature light fittings such as hanging lights, pendants, chandeliers and wall sconces will add more drama and personality to a room than standard downlights or fluorescents.
If changing the overhead lighting isn’t in your budget, you can still add a more homely look with an assortment of floor lamps, table lamps, recessed lighting, battery-operated candles, and salt lamps.
And don’t be afraid to embrace the dimmer switch. This simple addition can have a big impact on the overall appearance of your space, providing you with mood lighting to suit your lifestyle all year round.
When you think about a warm and cosy living room, what do you imagine? Glass tables and vinyl couches? Or a deep colour palette, stained timber, exposed concrete, and plush soft-touch fabrics like vintage linen, smooth velvet, chunky knits and faux fur.
The visual and textural components of a room can significantly contribute to the sensory experience, and choosing the right materials will help to create that ever-popular Danish atmosphere known as the ‘hygge’ look.
Of course, completely renovating your home to suit the seasons is not very practical. But with strong foundations in place such as a polished concrete floor, you can change simple elements of the interior design such as cushions, throws, rugs, curtains and artworks, to celebrate the seasons and showcase your personal style.
The living room can be easily transformed into a warm oasis in winter with the use of fabric lounge suites or couch covers, throw rugs, cushions and lamps.
In the bedroom, opt for heavy doonas, soft pillows, plush throws and an assortment of cushions in a range of sizes and shades. Also be sure to replace any old electric blankets to reduce fire hazards.
If after trying everything above, your home still needs help with heating, consider the size of the area you need to warm before making a purchase.
You might want to consider an electric split system reverse cycle unit that can also be used as cooler in hot weather. Or for heating with an aesthetic appeal consider a wood fire or an electric fireplace.
When deciding on the best heating for your home, it’s a good idea to discuss the options with your flooring supplier and installer to ensure you have adequate heating for the space and materials in your home.
For more inspiration for your home inside and out, visit www.geostone.com.au